Planet Earth
International Astronomical Union WGSN


Dr. Dr. Dipl. Dipl. Susanne M Hoffmann
Planet Earth
3. from the Sun

Purpose of this website

We would like to provid information on the history of the modern constellations and star names.

Around 1920, it was the growing field of research on variable stars and stellar transients that made the IAU defining official names and borders for constellations. Since then, a constellation is an area in the sky with exact boundaries.

In all historical epochs before and in all cultures all over the globe, there had been different constellations. We aim to preserve their stories, shapes, names and etymologies.

In the 2010s, it was a new growing field of astrophysics that caused the wish for official star names. The IAU Working Group Star Names dedicates plenty of time to define criteria to name stars officially. There are some naming campaigns where people can suggest names for exoplanet host stars. However, these names are only used for stars that are not visible to the naked eye. The naked eye stars are treated with care by the working group, aiming to increase cultural diversity and respect historical ideas and developments.

Whether or not a historical name (of a constellation or star) is officialized as star name does not matter: this website tells its story.